Underperforming Stars held by Tanzania in friendly

By alex wafula
May 29, 2016
  • Kenya's Antony Okumu in action during their friendly against Tanzania at the Kasarani Stadium.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi reacts during the match against Tanzania.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

A squad of Tanzania’s local based players held Kenya’s Harambee Stars to a one-all draw in an international friendly played on Sunday at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

Despite Kenya fielding a squad of six foreign based players in the starting team, Tanzania held their own.

Victor Wanyama equalized from the penalty spot with his third ever goal for the national team after Elias Maguli had given the visitors the lead.

Taifa Stars missed the services of their three most experienced players in Belgium based Mbwana Ally Samatta, TP Mazembe’s Thomas Ulimwengu and Free State Stars’ Mrisho Ngassa.

“We decided to bring with us a squad of young players, all from our local league in a bid to build for the future. It was a very good display from my team and it showed us what we need to correct on heading to an important AFCON qualifier against Egypt,” Charles Boniface Mkwassa, the Tanzania coach said after the match.

Kenya’s performance left a lot to be desired as the home side lacked punch and movement especially heading upfront.

Stanley Okumbi’s decision to play two defensive midfielders in skipper Victor Wanyama and Antony Akumu never helped matters much as the progression heading forward was very slow.

“It was a very tough match but for most of us, we have just come from a tough season and so we couldn’t have it easy,” skipper Wanyama who was an earlier doubt for the match said.

Tanzania started the match brightly and their speedy and exciting wingbacks provided all the danger.

Captain Mwinyi Kazimoto was the first to show intent with a ferocious 4th minute shot from inside the box that was fisted away by Boniface Oluoch in the Kenyan goal.

Aboud Omar, making his return to Kenya’s left side of defense after a long time off was picked out by the Tanzanians as the weak point in the Kenyan backline.

In the 12th minute, Deus Kaseke’s through ball to the right side found Omar off position, with Shiza Ramadhan picking up but his shot from a tight angle went wide.

Kenya never managed a single shot on target in the opening half hour of the game, the only meaningful chance being a 23rd minute header from David Owino that went wide. Tanzania opened the score from another delivery from Omar’s wing.

Juma Abdul in his marauding runs on the wing lifted a decent cross and Maguli nodded it home from six yards out.

The lead though lasted only six minutes as Wanyama leveled matters from the penalty spot after Abdul hacked down Ayub Timbe inside the box.

Jesse Were who has been enjoying good form with his Zambian Premier League club Zesco United came close to breaking his national team duck at the stroke of half time, but he missed a sitter from an Eric Johanna cross. 

Stars started the second period with pace and three minutes in, Ayub Timbe came close with his shot from an Omar cross going over.

Tanzania too were not relenting on their attacking forays and Oluoch was forced into a full stretch save in the 55th minute from a Shiza Ramadhan shot.

Okumbi satisfied with results

Okumbi then made changes to his side, bringing in Clifton Miheso for Mieno, a change that meant Johanna moved from the wing to the number 10 position previously occupied by Mieno.

Mkwassa responded with a triple sub, keeper Deogratius Munishi being replaced by Azam shot stopper Aisha Manula while Ramadhan and Jonas Mkude paved way for Farid Musa and Mohammed Ibrahim respectively.

Stars had a superb chance from the counter in the 70th minute, Wanyama releasing Timbe on the right but Miheso miscued a kick unmarked from the winger’s cross.

With 20 minutes left to the final whistle, Okumbi handed a first debut to current Kenya Premier league top scorer Wycliffe Ochomo, before also throwing into the fray Ulinzi Stars’ top scorer John Mark Makwatta.

Ali Abondo was also introduced for Teddy Akumu, a change that saw Stars shift into full attacking gear. However, they still couldn’t get past the Tanzanian backline.

“We played very well in my opinion, only that we need to work on our finishing which wasn’t very good today,” Okumbi said after the match.

The coach says he will make changes to the team ahead of the friendly against Sudan on Tuesday. He is expected to hand senior team debuts to several youngsters.